According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average selling price of flour in the US rose 5.3% in July, following trends of rising product prices in supermarkets. Retail prices of wheat flour, white flour and all-purpose flour are up 7% since June and 44.8% from the same time last year.
Flour prices have risen
The consumer price index (CPI) for cereals and cereal products was 2% higher in July than in June and 16.8% higher than in July 2021. The index for products in this category included: flours and ready-mixes, up 4% than June and an increase of 22.7% compared to the previous year; breakfast cereals, which are up 2% from the previous month and by 16.4% from July 2021; and rice, pasta and maize flour, is 1.3% higher than in June and 14.5% higher than in July 2021. The price index for bakery products increased by 2% in July from June and by 14.2% from July 2021.
While consumer prices for wheat products continue to rise at a rapid pace, this is not expected to have a substantial effect on wheat food consumption. Demand for wheat is considered relatively price inelastic and prices are also rising significantly in many food categories. Very often people will not stop buying food when prices rise, but will opt for less expensive options.
Rising food costs have hit shops, restaurants and households hard. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CPI for baked foods and grains rose 2% in July, the second straight month of such an increase. The consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) was unchanged on a seasonally adjusted basis in July, after rising 1.3 percent in June.
Food prices in supermarkets up
The other large supermarket chains recorded increases ranging from 9.3 percent (fruit and vegetables) to 14.9 percent (dairy products and related products). The index for out-of-home food has risen by 7.6 percent in the past year. The full-service meal index rose 8.9 percent over the past 12 months and the limited-service meal index rose 7.2 percent over the past year.
Current inflation is almost as high as it was in the early 1980s. Over the past 12 months, all items within the CPI showed an 8.5 percent increase before seasonal adjustment.
The home food index rose 13.1 percent in the past 12 months, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending March 1979. The other home food index rose 15.8 percent and the grain and bakery products increased 15.0 percent over the year.
What causes the price of flour to go up?
Many analysts point to a number of factors contributing to the rise in food costs. These include supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic, high transportation costs, labor costs and the war in Ukraine have led to a spike in global wheat prices.
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